UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


What do pedestrians look at at night?

1 January 2012

Despite its importance, very little is found in the literature on the visual tasks of pedestrians, particularly at night. This study was performed to identify and characterise the principal visual tasks of pedestrians at night and the key aspects of the visual environment that are important to pedestrians. In this study, an eye tracking method was employed. Wearing an eye tracker, subjects were asked to walk three different residential routes (5 subjects in day time and 15 subjects at night). In order to obtain further information about the experience of the subjects during the walk, a short interview was performed after completion of the task. The results show that whilst pedestrians may spend between 40% and 50% of their time looking at the footpath, not all of that time is spent on critical visual tasks. Looking at other people appears to be important to pedestrians but during this study the amount of time when subjects fixated on other people was limited. The apparent importance of the visual tasks away from the footpath compared to the tasks on it raises questions about how appropriate it is to specify the lighting on residential road using illuminance on the road and pavement.

What do pedestrians look at at night?. LIGHTING RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY, 44 (4), 438-448. 

Davoodian, N., Davoudian, N., Raynham, P. (2012)